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Some newbie questions.....

 
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Paultergeist



Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Some newbie questions..... Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

I hope it is okay to ask some "noob" questions....

I live in Lemon Grove (San Diego County), and I have recently gotten interested in windsurfing, though I have yet to try it.

My understanding (from my sailboat experience) is that San Diego is generally regarded as a pretty calm wind environment. As a general rule, this is fine for (boat) sailing; one just doesn't go as fast. Are light winds a problem for windsurfing? I do know that there is a minimum wind threshold for kiteboarding, but as for windsurfing is concerned, I honestly don't know.

I am surprised that there just do not seem to be any retail shops in the San Diego area that carry windsurfing gear. Weird. Plently of surf board shops, several kiteboarding shops, but I wasn't able to find a windsurfing retailer. ?!?! I guess I will have to shop over the 'net, or start with some used stuff. Best recommendations for internet vendors?

I am a bit wary of buying used windsurfing gear -- not because I care about a few scrapes and scratches -- but I don't want to be hampered by the wrong equipment. Are there any general guidelines that apply to light-wind beginners such as myself? I am 5'10", weigh about 200 pounds. I am trying to derive info on basic board design, length, volume, as well as approximate sail area that would be appropriate for me.

One of the internet sources I have communicated with suggested that I really would not need windsurfing lessons, but that I would be able to essentially learn from a DVD (given the "right" equipment, of course). I am a moderately competent small boat sailer (US Sailing Small Boat and Keelboat certifications), so I might be better off than someone with no background on the water at all. Still, I wonder if it is truly reasonable for me to learn windsurfing on my own usng a DVD?

Alternatively, if anyone knows of an instruction facility in San Diego County, please forward that info to me. Thus far, I have found only one place that offers any instruction (Mission Bay Aquatic Center), and many of their classes -- though tentatively scheduled -- do not take place due to having too few students. I am looking for other options.

I apologize for the laundry list of questions. Any thoughts at all -- on any of these points -- would be sincerely appreciated.

My thanks for your reply!
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coachg



Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 2009

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a lesson first. If you can't get one in San Diego, take a trip to LA and get one. Try Clewfirst in Long Beach I think? You can learn off a DVD, but the curve is much steeper.

As far as what you need? Windsurfers opperate in two modes. Like a boat plowing through the water, or like a water ski skimming across the top of the water. You have to decide which type of windsurfing you want to do. In San Diego with the light wind that means a longboard for plowing, or a formula/freeformula/freewide board with huge sails (10+ meters).

Understand though, if you want to go the planing route in San Diego, it may take some time to learn how to use a harness and the straps because of the light wind. If you want to get planing, you are better off taking a windsurf vacation to a breezy spot like Calema and getting some intermediate lessons. That way you can also try out different gear.

If you go the DVD route, get a longboard.

Coachg
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carl



Joined: 25 Feb 1997
Posts: 2487
Location: SF bay area

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Re: Some newbie questions..... Reply with quote

Paultergeist wrote:

I am surprised that there just do not seem to be any retail shops in the San Diego area that carry windsurfing gear. Weird. Plently of surf board shops, several kiteboarding shops, but I wasn't able to find a windsurfing retailer. ?!?! I guess I will have to shop over the 'net, or start with some used stuff. Best recommendations for internet vendors?

I!



Welcome to the sport!
There is a shop in San Diego:

http://www.southwestboardsports.com/
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victor



Joined: 03 Aug 1998
Posts: 559

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiters plane on a lot less wind than boardsailors. You will need at least 15 knots to have much fun unless you are sailing HUGE equipment. Once you figure things out 20 and above is preferable which you can't really count on in and around San Diego.

Not having spent a lot of time down there I don't know all the spots but Lake Isabella near Bakersiled might be a good choice. It frequently rips on the Salton Sea. The Ponds near Palm Springs used to be an awesome spot until they closed them to the public years ago. There is certainly plenty of steady wind judging by the windmill farms around there.

Windsurfing shops are becoming very scarce. Even up here in the SF Bay Area we only have one or two left. Online shops are sometimes your only choice these days.

As a beginner I would recommend getting used equipment right here on iwindsurf. You will outgrow a beginner setup very quickly and probabaly trash it in the process.
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Paultergeist



Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:14 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks for the additional thoughts and information!
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BajaVaya



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Carl suggests, contact Peter Jones at
http://www.southwestboardsports.com
or call him at 619-518-1660
He has a sail loft in Pt Loma and equipment on Morena Blvd.

First, however, I recommend joining the San Diego Windsurfing Association. They have boards+sails for rent ($5/day) and members will give you lessons on Mission Bay. Go to
www.SDWA.org
SDWA members can usually be found on the grass just north of the Hilton Hotel on Mission Bay (I-5 Tecolote Rd exit, then north on the parallel road). They will be more than happy to help you.

I would suggest going south to San Quintin Bay in Baja to improve your skills rather than the LA area or Lake Isabella, the drive is about 4.5 hrs from the border. The wind is more reliable and smooth, and although the bahia is as big as San Diego Bay, it is only head deep (max) with an entrance that is just 100 yds wide (to fill 50 sq miles, 10 miles long). It is virtually impossible to get into trouble (worst case you will have a long walk on a knee deep sand bar). Also, being a giant shallow solar collector, it is 70+ deg in midwinter (75 - 80) in summer; I usually warm up by jumping in the water rather than out of it. Kiters are prolific on the bay, but I rarely see fellow windsurfers. (I thought of getting into Kiting and bought an 11m Wipika with lessons, but SD winds are too light and I have no intention of laying out a huge hunk of change on a bigger kite just to go back and forth on a 4' sheet of plywood when I can ride waves like a surfboard with a motor, instead of outrunning them -- and I am too old to risk serious injury).

I plan to lead an SDWA trip to SQ Bay in April. So if you join, you will receive notice and can join the convoy, I have spare equipment down there. Others are welcome, contact me at bajaya@sbcglobal.net.

With waist deep water, I find that I can teach the waterstart in a day and I usually teach my local friends to waterstart right off the bat, without bothering with uphauling -- easier on the back and less frustration in the usual 18-25 mph wind.
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AnaB



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:17 pm    Post subject: some newbie questions Reply with quote

I had the same problem....decided to become a windsurfer but Mission Bay Aquatics kept canceling the group lessons. I ended up doing a couple of private lessons. I highly recommend it. It was just enough to get started. I think I picked up a lot more one on one than I would have in a group class, so the expense was worth it. You can rent the gear a few times to make sure you like the sport before you invest. Also, they are nice enough to come out and pick you up if the wind dies, a good thing for a newbie. I am still a complete novice, but having a great time.
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Paultergeist



Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

BajaVaya and AnaB,

Thank you both very much for the additional information!

AnaB, I appreciate you sharing your experiences with me; I may very well pursue the private lesson path at Mission Bay Aquatic Center if all else fails.

BajaVaya, thanks very much for the detailed post. I have now spoken to Peter Jones, and his advice to me was very much similar to yours: get in contact with SDWA for guidance and some points of contact, etc. Peter felt I should try some of the "learning boards" that might be available through lessons and/or SDWA before even thinking about buying anything.

I am really interested in the SQ Bay trip! I'll be sending you an email shortly.

With thanks,

Paul
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BajaVaya



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 88

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am really interested in the SQ Bay trip!


Peter will help you get started, he has a stable of used gear at reasonable prices and SDWA has a bulletin of 2nd hand stuff offered by members, that is ideal for SD.

Don't even think about Bahia SQ until you have had several lessons. From my experience teaching at SQ, unless your muscles are used to it, that 18-25 mph breeze for a whole day will leave you too stiff to walk on the next one -- smooth winds notwithstanding.
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jingebritsen



Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 2438

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought about the "huge gear" comment. Kiters here in FL used to lambast us for that very same claim. Who's using huge now? 20 and 22 meter kites are still seen from time to time.

Huge gear is subjective, right? I've been using a 9.0 sail (non-cam) or a 7.4 in winds lighter than most kiters can fly their stuff. Oh, that's been using a long board. Gotta wonder, with all those Pacific waves over there, how come there aren't more long board wave sailing guru's in CA? Is wardog's bunch just more vocal than all the rest?

FW stuff without the double luff sails were pretty accessible for most rec type sailors. Once they went super heavy and techy, lots of folk dropped that. Some got long boards. Some did large free ride stuff. 9.0 and a 150 liter short wide (80 + cm) gets me planing with some pumping in 8-12 mph days. That's if the wind is too offshore to go bob for waves. :~)
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